Department of History

Angela Lakwete


Angela Lakwete, Associate Professor of History, received her Ph.D. from the University of Delaware / Hagley Program in the History of Industrialization (1997). Her dissertation combines her interests in industrialization, textile production, and southern history in a study of the cotton gin. Johns Hopkins University Press published the revision as Inventing the Cotton Gin: Machine and Myth in Antebellum America in 2003. The book tracks the machine - the cotton gin - from its Asian roots to the Americas, follows its development to about 1865, then explores the myth - that Eli Whitney invented the gin - and its implications. Inventing the Cotton Gin won the 2004 Edelstein Prize given by the Society for the History of Technology for the best scholarly book published about the history of technology in the past three years. In her next book project she examines machine makers of Alabama from 1819 and how they "manufactured modernity" within a slave society.

She is involved in textile engineering and agricultural economics programs pursuing her interests in fiber and fabric production from Egyptian linen to American Polartec. Other scholarly interests include two-wheeled transportation systems and computer culture.

Lakwete teaches the Technology and Civilization and United States History sequences and offers a graduate seminar in Southern Industrialization.


Representative Publications


  • Inventing the Cotton Gin: Machine and Myth in Antebellum America (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003)

Last Updated: May 23, 2019